The defending Class B state champion Falmouth girls’ soccer program has a new coach.

Deb LeBel, who went 61-4-5 during her four seasons with the Yachtsmen, leading them to titles in 2005, 2006 and 2008, recently stepped down (she and her husband, Mike, the Falmouth boys’ lacrosse coach, are expecting a baby). LeBel will be replaced by Jon Shardlow, who coached his alma mater Waynflete to Class D and Class C girls’ soccer state championships during his five years at the school.

“Deb did a great job, she was very enjoyable to work with and I was disappointed she had to step down,” said Falmouth athletic director Todd Livingston. “But I’m excited. The hiring committee was overwhelmingly in support of Jon. He has a proven track record and an impressive resume.

“Philosophically, he’s a good fit for our program. He also brings an education piece to the position. He’s interested in totally immersing himself in the program all the way down to the youth level. He wants the program to continue to grow. I think it will be a good fit for us.”

Shardlow, a graduate of Waynflete (Class of 1991) and Manhattanville College, went 67-13-2 with the Flyers, leading them to the 2004 Class D crown, and after moving up a class the following year and falling agonizingly short on three occasions, guided them past nemesis NYA and into the Class C title game last November, which Waynflete won, 4-1, over Orono.

“To take over a program like Falmouth offers a bunch of opportunities,” Shardlow said. “To be involved with developing players offers a unique opportunity. Falmouth has a deeply-rooted tradition and a great deal of pride in both the boys’ and girls’ programs. That was such a draw.”

The Yachtsmen return several standout players and have many more in reserve.

“I feel good about inheriting this team,” Shardlow said. “There’s an added element of pressure, but I’d rather have high expectations and try to reach them to have low expectations.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]

Shardlow.JPGShardlow (File photo)